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Climate Change Impacting Agriculture in Cameroon by City Tech Blogger Pascal Hermann Kouogang Tafo

According to the United Nations, “Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns.”  Climate change is considered an natural phenomenon caused by variations in the solar cycle as well as human activity. Since the turn of the century, human activity has been the primary cause of climate change, due to the usage of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. The increased usage of fossil fuels have led to an exponential growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere which raises the Earth’s global temperature.

Despite how people feel personally about climate change, climate change is not about warmer atmospheric temperatures but rather the consequences of climate change include natural disasters such as intense droughts, water scarcity, rising sea levels, etc … Additionally, the consequences can have an negative effect on human population and biodiversity based on our everyday habits. For example, my home country Cameroon is a central west African country located on the equator and bordered on by the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the population receive monetary value from growing crops and agricultural techniques. It is therefore undeniable that climate change is a huge problem for our country.

Agriculture is the backbone of the Cameroonian economy, employing an estimated 70% of the economically active population and accounting for an estimated 80% of the primary sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP. Additionally, agriculture accounts for approximately one-third of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and one-fifth of budgetary resources. Despite this enormous potential, agriculture in Cameroon face multiple challenges that jeopardize the country’s ability to meet food demands. Natural disasters such as droughts have affected the amount of production in crops that farmers make. Cameroon is naturally a humid climate which causes soil to dry up quicker leading to potential deforestation. The rise in deforestation has a direct impact in the growth on fruits and vegetables in the forest such as cocoa, plantains, and bananas.

Moreover, agriculture in Cameroon isn’t only suffering due to the dryness of soil but the quality of nutrients underground. In coastal regions, the sea levels have gradually risen which have led to increased  flooding of land. Flooding damages the infrastructure surroundings and contaminates the soil used for farming affecting the quality of production. Additionally, sea water is naturally salty which makes natural nutrients in the soil inefficient, forcing farmers to use chemical fertilizer. Chemical fertilizer is expensive and can be difficult to afford financially.

Personally, my parents are farmers that specialized in growing crops such as corn and cocoa for commercial purposes. I have been directly affected by climate change because I have witnessed the decrease in profit after my parents sell their products. The decrease in profit is primarily caused by the increase in expenses. For example, a decade ago, my parents used chemical fertilizers once an year. In contrast, my parents currently have to enrich the soil twice a year because of the presence of too much salt which damages the soil.  The expenses have gradually increased which has an effect on an economic level.

In conclusion, many regions around the world have been impacted by climate change and strict measures need to be established especially towards countries that generate the most greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Climate change is real and we should acknowledge this issue by doing our part towards a brighter future.

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